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Pitt County parent creates school safety nonprofit, hopes for more measures | #schoolsaftey

FARMVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A Pitt County parent hopes to put new school security measures in place to be ready for the upcoming school year.

Nichole Warren was terrified to drop her child off at school after the Nashville school shooting. Since then, Warren started the Sugg Bundy Safety Initiative, a nonprofit for H.B. Suggs Elementary and Sam D. Bundy Elementary Schools.

“I’ll tell you, dropping off my six-year-old after those shootings was absolutely gut-wrenching,” said Warren.

Warren said after watching footage from the Covenant School shooting, she noticed something.

“The side of the classroom doors that the officers cleared, were what is called a barracuda door jamb. I recognized it because we had actually purchased one for my son’s classroom,” said Warren.

“Unbeknownst to us, it wasn’t able to be used because it wasn’t an approved device. But that kind of got the ball rolling.”

That’s when Warren began researching night locks.

“And that is able to be released from outside of the classroom, giving emergency personnel administrators, anybody like that access to the room,” said Warren. “If it is inappropriately used, or if the teacher in the room becomes incapacitated for whatever reason, emergency personnel administration can gain access to that room,” said Warren.

Warren said according to the NC State Fire Marshal’s Office, night locks meet the needed criteria.

In a statement, Director of Public Information and Media Relations for Pitt County, Dawn Jones said, “School safety is a top priority for Pitt County. Jay Morris, Pitt County fire marshal/Deputy Director Emergency Management is investigating the request in collaboration with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, local fire inspectors and officials at Pitt County Schools.”

Spokesperson for Pitt County Schools, Tom McClellan, said in a statement, “We commend Ms. Warren for her initiative and are grateful for her willingness to take an active role in our parent-school partnership. Pitt County Schools certainly shares the belief that the safety of our students and staff unequivocally remains our top priority. An integral part of that process includes collaboration with emergency responders in our county to ensure our facilities provide needed security measures.”

In Farmville, the mayor and commissioners presented a letter Monday night in support of the safety initiative. Warren will present that letter to Pitt County Schools board members during a meeting on Aug. 7.

The letter is also used to help to raise funds for the safety initiative. Warren said so far, enough money has been raised to complete the first phase of the project.

“Which would be window film where the front of the building that is bullet resistant, which will allow our first responders additional time to respond to an active shooter and that would also apply to purchasing the night locks for all the classrooms there,” said Warren.

The safety initiative isn’t a cheap project.

“The window film, the prices we got from that range from $5,000 to $17,000. The devices are $65 for the device and an additional $60 if that company installs them,” said Warren. “We also could reach out to local construction companies and have them offer their resources to install them at no cost to the schools. That would allow us to purchase almost twice as many devices.”

For more information about the Sugg Bundy Safety Initiative or to make a donation, visit Sugg Bundy Safety Initiative.

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